The gay mafia is after Jack Hakimian. The head of North Miami's Impact Miami church has made a name for himself by fighting a proposed strip club in the neighborhood -- a fight that found him allied with PBS affiliate WPBT. That alliance got WPBT in trouble with North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin, who drew attention to Hakimian's homophobic sermons and anti-gay marriage stance. Then Hakimian got into a scrap with Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who was trying to keep him from teaching Sunday school classes at North Miami Senior High.
Now, the inflammatory pastor is back with more outrage. His latest claim: Kevin Burns, the openly gay former mayor of North Miami, is engaging in "mafia-style coercion" to keep his church from hosting a weekly gospel luncheon at a local cafe. To make his point, Hakimian has made a 9-minute video soundtracked by Public Enemy.
"I think anyone who has these conservative views about marriage has the potential of being targeted," Hakimian tells Riptide. "I don't think it's specifically against me, but I think it's against my ideology."
Burns, however, tells Riptide that he and Hakimian have never even met, and that he's not the puppetmaster pulling the strings in a nefarious gay plot.
"It's just him reaching for a conspiracy theory," Burns says. "I have no influence over the business owners in that community."
According to Hakimian, he and his church were all set to hold a gospel luncheon every Sunday at Moca Cafe at NE 125th Street and NE Seventh Avenue. He had struck a deal with the cafe's two managers, and they were going to start this month. Last week, however, the managers approached Hakimian and told him the deal was a no go. The reason, he says?
"The manager referenced the pressure he was getting from Kevin Burns and [building] owner Clark Reynolds, who are both open gay activists." Hakimian says.
Calls seeking comment from Reynolds or the managers at Moca Cafe were not returned.
Unable to get a hold of Burns or Reynolds -- "Obviously, they're very secluded," Hakimian says -- the pastor turned to his congregation with a subtle, thoughtful email on the situation, titled, "Former Homosexual Mayor Attacks North Miami Church!"
On the church's website, Hakimian goes on the attack against Burns, Reynolds and, for some reason, Councilman Galvin, with the kind of logic you would expect from someone who thinks gay people are godless sinners.
"Can these homosexual leaders be trusted, or will they continue to bully if unchecked?" Hakimian writes. "Will fair-minded homosexuals speak out against this kind of evil, or will they encourage and justify it in order to stay in rank?"
But Jack Hakimian's mighty pen wasn't weapon enough against these "rich Anglo-Homosexuals using their 'old power' structures to intimidate conservative immigrant Haitians, minorities and immigrants." He also was kind enough to provide a nine-and-a-half minute video about the crisis featuring shaky, close-up footage of Hakimian standing outside Moca Cafe rambling about the First Amendment and the gay agenda.
Alleging that "if you give an inch, they'll take a mile," Hakimian's video plots to expose Burns and "organized criminal" Reynolds as wicked men trying to hold down the righteous. He also goes after Galvin for "discrediting PBS" for allying with Hakimian and siccing the media on the church. Just about the only good thing the video has going for it is a soundtrack of Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, and Ice Cube.
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But while Hakimian rails, Burns just laughs. He says that, most likely, this is a plot on Pastor Jack's part to get attention. He adds that if he actually had any part in this supposed conspiracy, he'd be taking responsibility.
"If I were behind it, I'd be front and center to say, 'I'm behind it,'" Burns says.